Beverly Roberts: From food vendor and taxi driver to UG Graduate

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By Isanella Patoir

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For Beverly Roberts, who is among the first to graduate from university for her family, her accomplishment did not come easy. She faced immense hurdles such as the death of her five-year-old son in 2014.

But it was imperative for Roberts to persevere. It is her way of breaking generational curses.

“I wanted to set a standard because nobody from our close family ever went to UG or ever did anything like this, so I wanted to set a standard for my daughter and all the other little ones. Let them know that we can do it.”

A proud Roberts told the News Room during an interview on Tuesday that she is graduating with a Bachelor of Public Management from the University of Guyana this year.  She had to work as a food vendor for years and more recently as a taxi driver to achieve this huge milestone.

While there were challenges, Roberts said the journey was still somewhat fun. But the most challenging was the death of her son in a vehicular accident.

Roberts is originally from Supenaam, Essequibo Coast and attended the Anna Regina Multilateral School. After her son died, she decided to move to Georgetown and made a promise to him that she will continue her education.

“I feel satisfied, I feel happy, I mean all those good emotions. To really understand what this means to me you have to understand where I am coming from.

“When I moved from Essequibo, going UG was something I always wanted to do so when my son passed and I had to move, I promised myself that the first thing I would do is go back to school. For the sake of his memory I didn’t just want to do anything so that is why I put my best into it,” Roberts explained.

Beverly Roberts and her family

While in Georgetown, she worked at a government agency and her former employer encouraged her to attend UG and even assisted her with tuition fees. Roberts first did her diploma in Public Management and then switched to Business Management to complete her degree.

“UG of itself had many challenges, two of the major challenges was when the online learning started.”

During her last year of university, Roberts lost her job and this was when she worked as a taxi driver.

“(I did this) in order to upkeep myself, you know, to get another job.”

She also had a teen daughter depending on her.

In December 2021, Roberts managed to gain employment as a marketing and distribution officer at the Guyana Chronicle.

She is the second of five children and her parents always instilled that education was of paramount importance.

“…because of the fact that we came from a family where (not everyone can) read and write, even my parents,” Roberts explained. But this year, Roberts is not the only one graduating from university, her younger sister Lydia, is graduating with a Diploma in Communications.

Beverly Roberts and her sister Lydia will graduate together

Roberts graduated from secondary school in 2000. But her Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) results were not that great.

Nevertheless, she went on to join a training programme at the Kuru Kuru Training College. Much to her surprise, she was the best graduating student for the entire programme.

After she completed that programme, she wasted no time in registering for the Industrial Relation and Social Studies course at the Critchlow Labour College in Georgetown. And again, Roberts emerged as the best graduating student.

“After that, everything just went blank. I think I just hit a bad patch and I just went back home to Essequibo.”

While in Essequibo, she took up food vending to support her two children.

“Food vending is something that my mother did to raise us,” Roberts explained. Roberts was involved in food vending for a number of years and she said her family’s support was always there.

“I was lucky in a way that I had all these people by my side,” Roberts said.

She plans to further her studies and intends to “go as far as I can.”

And now she has advice for others: “…press on, keep moving. That’s the main thing. Keep working on your dream and doors will open.”

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